Saturday, 18 June 2016


I have a new endurance sport. I discovered it with the help of my PTA Barry at Parkwood. We call it Rehabathlon. It's kind of like a triathlon, but without the swimming and wetsuit, or the being outside, or the fun and oh so aerodynamic outfit. But it sure has the fancy equipment - way more than all those fancy bikes. And it only happens on special Thursdays, lucky for me that was yesterday.

My new endurance sport looks like this: Lokomat, FES, Ekso. The distance are not defined ahead of time, in fact they are determined on the fly. The Lokomat requires a considerable about of setup, and because of the atrophy of the muscles in my legs, my setup has changed. Smaller cuffs are needed to strap my legs to the walking part of the machine, so making those changes ate into my walking time yesterday. But usually I walk about one kilometer. Then it's lunch (which also is not a part of the endurance race - at least not until after...)

FES bike is next (functional electrical stimulus). Setup requires the assistance of the staff, it is hard to properly place four electrodes on one's own behind. I managed 11.5 miles in my one hour time limit yesterday, a record for me. The time flew, of course, because all my Parkwood friends were there to chat about all the random things that most people would never think about. Like where the wheelchair friendly bars are in London, accessible holidays and how to work the insurance system to be in your favour. I am getting my own FES bike to have at home - but I will keep going to Parkwood on Thursdays - it's therapy for my body and my mind.

Now here is the bonus part from this Thursday - I also got to walk in the Ekso. The St. Joseph's AGM was at Parkwood and they wanted a demo of the equipment being used in the physio gym. I happened to be the lucky person in the right place at the right time, so I got off the FES and into the Ekso. All just in time to be standing as the Board of Directors walked in. I did a couple of laps of the gym and stopped to talk to them. I must say I was the perfect person to do it, I love to talk, teach and make people laugh - and that is exactly what I did. Afterwards the Vice President in charge of Parkwood, came back to meet, shake my hand me and say thank you. Very nice, indeed.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Awake in the night

Do you ever wake in the night and end up with thoughts that take you down a not-so-helpful path? Last night is was around four a.m. and as I lay there thinking about how uncomfortable I was and how peaceful Theo's sleep sounded, I heard it. The dreaded Ornge - that helicopter that, no matter what, is the bearer of horrible things. And so turned my thoughts to terrible things like remembering what it was like to be in critical care, the pain and the effect of the drugs. It wasn't long, that I was awake, but when I awoke again in the morning I couldn't shake those negative thoughts. Some sort of dread. So I cried in the shower.

These June days used to be my favourite. Up at the crack of dawn to do a brick workout or pick strawberries in the garden or hoe and weed. Now I can't do any of those, at least not on my own. How will I ever achieve that level of satisfaction? Getting the best part of the day all to myself? And accomplishing so much at the same time? Loss of independence is so very difficult to come to terms with. Almost one year in, and nowhere near.

Mid morning we all went out to the garden to see if we could find some strawberries. You see last July I planted two perfect rows of plants, weeded, strawed and watered. They looked great. That was then. Now, well they have been freed from the wheat that grew from that straw, but they do not have the same fervor that they should have at this time of year. What the kids found instead was a small patch of wild berries - not quite the teeny tiny ones found everywhere else on the property, but small nonetheless. And there were tonnes of them! So what could I do but get down to the ground, out of my chair and help pick. We got about half a yogurt container full but just as many went into our mouths.

The kids and I spent the afternoon on the Blyth Greenway Trail. It is a small portion of the Goderich to Guelph trail (G2G) that used to be a rail line. Now it is used by hikers, bikers and some folks on four wheels who, in my opinion, should not be there. This section runs along the creek and has fitness stations set up with signs and wooden post for various exercises. The kids had fun jumping over the rocks in the creek and challenging each other on the fitness stations. I just rolled along, in no rush. It was quite an odd sensation, knowing that the pre-accident me would have been running the trail, thinking that the kids were going too slow. Instead, when Ella said that I should let them know when I was ready to move along, I just took the time to watch them play. Pre-collision me would have been impatient, now I seem to have more patience - for some things that is.

I feel all mixed up these days. Up and down so often in a day it makes my head spin. Some excitement at therapy and in the pool, but then the frustrating realization that I can't do what I want, that I have to find another way. I just hope I will.